Schoemaker Golf Classic 2021

Science Leaders Raise Funds for Individuals with Autism and Disabilities


Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, when other fundraising events were significantly downsized or eliminated, the volunteers behind an annual golf tournament benefiting Melmark have remained dedicated in their mission to raise funds for the not-for-profit organization’s programs. The Hubert J.P. Schoemaker Classic Advisory Board raised $314,600 at its 16th annual golf fundraiser, weaving social distancing measures and virus mitigation best practices into all aspects of the event. The event took place on Monday, October 11, 2021 in two locations- The Philadelphia Country Club and Gulph Mills Golf Club.


Members of the Schoemaker Classic Advisory Board are steadfast supporters of Melmark, a not-for-profit organization serving children and adults diagnosed with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities. Melmark’s Pennsylvania service division, located in Berwyn, has taken a significant unexpected financial costs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With other service divisions in Andover, Massachusetts and Charlotte, North Carolina, the organization has incurred more than $5 million in unplanned expenses and income losses since mid-March 2020. The losses and extra expenses are due to day program closures, the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), hero pay for those employees working with a positive case of the virus, increased sanitizing measures, the purchase of technological equipment for remote learning, and reconfiguring program work spaces to ensure optimal virus mitigation.


Rita M. Gardner, President and CEO of Melmark, Denny Willson, Schoemaker Classic Advisory Board member and Melmark Board Member and Anne Schoemaker.

Melmark President and CEO, Rita M. Gardner, M.P.H., LABA, BCBA says the Schoemaker Classic Advisory Board’s unwavering support could not come at a better time. “This has been a challenging time for all not-for-profit human service organizations especially those providing care in-person, and on the front line of special education and congregate care services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gardner. “The pandemic has created new obstacles in an already underfunded field, and the support of our donor community is needed now more than ever,” she added. “This incredible group of leaders in the life sciences industry have their own COVID-19-related battles to fight, yet they are stepping up again for the 16th anniversary of this event, and I am in awe of what they are able to accomplish year after year. We are beyond grateful for their ongoing support. Every year, the Classic Advisory Committee carries on Hubert Schoemaker’s rich legacy of improving so many lives.”


Schoemaker Classic Advisory Board Co-Chair, Rich Decker, speaks of the importance of this event. “It is integral that we continue Hubert Schoemaker’s work to help ensure ongoing strength and vitality for Melmark’s services.” Decker is partner of Simkiss and Block. He explains why he and his peers on the advisory board remain steadfast in their dedication to this event. “The programs at Melmark depend a great deal on fundraised dollars, and I cannot think of a better way for the life sciences industry to pull together during this unique time in all of our lives. Hubert Schoemaker improved millions of lives. Not just through his work and contributions to the biotechnology industry, but as a philanthropist. We are grateful for the opportunity to support such a meaningful mission.”


About The Schoemaker Classic

The Schoemaker Classic was founded in 2006 by Lee Ahrensdorf, President of Ahrensdorf and Associates, in memory of the late Hubert J.P. Schoemaker. Schoemaker was a leader and advocate in the region’s life sciences community and founder of Centocor. Schoemaker, whose eldest daughter lived at Melmark for 28 years, was well known for giving back to the community, especially to children and adults with special needs.


In addition to Decker, the advisory board is led by co-chairs Brad Michel, Managing Director at Accenture, and Shawn O’Brien, Chairman at Key BIOPHARMA Partners. For a complete list of advisory board members, visit https://schoemakerclassic.com/about-the-advisory-board/.